Saturday, December 29, 2012

Electronics For Christmas

I was browsing around the store and noticed the NOOKS had been updated since last year. Then I noticed they were updated along with every other electronic device in the same department, where people were standing in line to purchase the latest “thing” that was on sale.

I shook my head wondering how soon after we left the store, with our items, that a new updated one would be on the shelf, and what we had just bought would be outdated.
We lost the charger to my daughters DS and had trouble finding one that would work in her device. A very young guy who waited on us had to look up our DS on the computer and we showed him a picture of it so he could help us. Okay, it’s really not that long ago since we bought it, but…

That’s how it is now. As soon as you turn your new lap top on, your new phone filled with a bunch of cool apps, or the latest game player another one is being marketed that is so much better than what you have in your hands. A person just has to have the latest one too.
In the book of Proverbs it says:

“There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave, the barren womb,
land, which is never satisfied with water,
and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’
If that passage was written today I wonder if it would add – “electronics” to the list.

Don’t get me wrong I love electronics too. It just made me think while I was Christmas shopping and watching the crowds of people in the electronics section how much it’s become a part of Christmas. And every year there is a new thing for a person to want. It’s always changing and can a person really keep up with it all?
The hustle and bustle of the stores is such a stark contrast to what the message of Christmas really is all about. Yes, there is a magnificent gift involved, but the original reason for celebrating Christmas doesn’t change.

During the live nativity presentation at our church the story of Christmas was told from over 2000 years ago and it is the same powerful loving story year after year. It is truly what Christmas is about.
In a small town in Bethlehem, a virgin girl named Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is Immanuel, God is with Us. The angels came to the shepherds and told them this wonderful story and they went to see the baby. A star shined brightly above where the baby lay in a feeding trough and the poor shepherds were witness to this miracle baby and then went and shared their tale.

You see, Unto us a child was born.
This child grew to be a man and walked among us. His name is Jesus.

This man gave His life for us and paid the price for all of our sins. If we believe in Him, we are saved.
This is the reason we celebrate this holiday. Yes, the gifts are awesome, but the first gift ever given to us regarding this holiday can never be surpassed in its awesomeness.

Because of Him…
You are forgiven.

You will live ETERNALLY with God.
This gift was done with a love that is incomparable.

It is for you to receive and it doesn’t change, it doesn’t get old, nor does it need an update.
John 3:16 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Light In Darkness

I cried when I heard there was a shooter at Clackamas mall. The next day I was upset because there was a lock down at Evergreen High School due to a teacher finding a rifle in a student's backpack.

And yesterday...

How do you react to the horrific news of young children, and the adults caring for them, being shot to death while they are in an environment that is supposed to be safe? Where children are enjoying their peers, and learning from their teachers to be able to grow into intelligent adults.

How do you react to the reports of the little kids who hid in terror and the heroic efforts of the teachers to protect them and their own lives?

How do you react to the news of the principal losing her life trying to stop the gunman? Or the young teacher who hid the children of her class in a closet and then stood between them and the gunmen?

So utterly senseless.

I have seen and heard one way people are reacting...people want answers. They want the "Why?" answered. Investigative reporters have spent the last two days searching for the answer to that question. They've heard opinions, and have also discovered the gunman had altercations with four of the staff at the school.

Okay, a big enough altercation to take the lives of innocent children? Still doesn't answer the why for me. There is not a good enough reason for a twenty year old guy to do something so horrendous.

Yet...this seems to becoming an answer for so many people. Murder, suicides and shootings, when will it stop?

Now we are left to grieve for those whose lives were lost and for those who lost the ones they love. To grieve for those who don't get to tuck their precious babies into bed tonight and don't get to watch them as they sleep. Kiss their cheeks or feel their sweet arms wrap around their necks. And for those who don't get to share that one last kiss with someone they love...why? Because of senseless violence.

Today, we went downtown and watched Santa arrive on a steam engine train. He was waving at the crowds and all of us were waving back. When I watched my daughter and her friends wave and smile, I fought the wave of emotion that struck me and was quick to wipe at the tears that sprung to my eyes when I realized how blessed I was to watch this moment of her life.

This is a time of year where people are expected to celebrate. Expected to be joyful and party. But many across this country are mourning, not celebrating. They don't get to see their loved ones open the gifts they bought for them on Christmas day.

An article by Max Lucado hit on a story in the Bible that I really hate to read. It is such a heart wrenching story that it makes me wonder how someone could be so cruel.

But today it actually gave me a light in this very dark situation.

When Herod found out that a King was born named Jesus, he sent men out to kill every male child under the age of TWO in the area! Joseph was warned in a dream. So he took Mary and Jesus and took of to Nazareth.

When I read this story I can't help but imagine the entire scene. Soldiers forcing their way into homes and killing the child on the spot and the parents knocked to their knees in grief.

The evil of that story is so hard for my mind to wrap around just like the evil that has happened across our land is hard for me to deal with.

Yet...it is so clear to me how important it was for Jesus to come to this world. To walk among His people, His creation and show them how to live in His love. How to treat others. How to love God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To empower us to be kind, patient, giving, loving, hopeful, good...because we are sinful and sin spreads...it hurts those close to us and others who cross our path.

When He came to the world, it was dark and full of violence just as we experience it today. He was with them in the darkness. Immanuel - God is with us.